Omega Psi Phi, local government officials hand out 500 gift baskets to fight food insecurity

Cleveland City Council President Blaine A. Griffin and Zeta Omega Chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity held its annual Christmas basket giveaway last Saturday, Dec. 16 at Ginn Academy in Collinwood.

The organization gave away 500 food baskets, feeding approximately 2,500 residents in the Cleveland area. 

Each basket had enough food to feed five people, holding a turkey, two cans of green beans, two cans of corn, two cans of cranberry sauce, one large can of sweet potatoes, a five-pound bag of potatoes, two boxes of cornbread mix, and two boxes of gelatin.

Omega Psi Phi Fraternity annual Christmas Food Basket GiveawayOmega Psi Phi Fraternity annual Christmas Food Basket GiveawayEarlier this year, Cuyahoga County Council District 9 Councilmember Meredith Turner sponsored legislation for a grant to help fight food insecurity in the most vulnerable parts of Cuyahoga County. Turner, who has attended Zeta Omega chapter’s basket giveaways over the years, secured $20,000 of that funding for the organization’s mission.

“According to the Greater Cleveland Food Bank, one in seven people in its service area contends with food insecurity, which can be even more pervasive during the holiday season,” says chapter public relations chair  Damon Scott, adding that the food was purchased at Dave’s Markets. “The monetary donations from individual brothers of Zeta Omega also go a long way to make the event successful.”

Members of The Divine Nine, Black Greek fraternities and sororities, helped with the event, including  Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, and Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority.

President Griffin, who is a member of Omega Psi Phi, says he admires the work these organizations are doing in Northeast Ohio, and it is one of the reasons he joined the Zeta Omega chapter.

“The Divine 9 organizations do so much for our community that I had to be a part of this network,” Grifin says. “I am proud to join this network of committed public servants as a member of the Omega Psi Phi Zeta Omega chapter.”

The annual event is chaired by Omega Psi Phi brother William Brown, and brother Ted Ginn, Sr., director of Ginn Academy, offered use of the school for the event.

2023 marks Zeta Omega Chapter’s100th year of uplifting the Greater Cleveland area. The chapter has held events throughout the year, including the annual food basket giveaway, to commemorate its centennial anniversary.

“This food giveaway is only one of a few ways we give back to Cleveland and The Northeast Ohio community,” says Griffin. “We believe that Friendship Is Essential To The Soul (F.I.E.T.T.S.), and what better way to show ‘friendship’ and ‘love’ for our community than by making sure families have food on the table this holiday season. I’m just proud to be a part of this great tradition.” 

Karin Connelly Rice
Karin Connelly Rice

About the Author: Karin Connelly Rice

Karin Connelly Rice enjoys telling people's stories, whether it's a promising startup or a life's passion. Over the past 20 years she has reported on the local business community for publications such as Inside Business and Cleveland Magazine. She was editor of the Rocky River/Lakewood edition of In the Neighborhood and was a reporter and photographer for the Amherst News-Times. At Fresh Water she enjoys telling the stories of Clevelanders who are shaping and embracing the business and research climate in Cleveland.